“I killed my wife, I shot her,” Top Cop recalls frantic call
A man accused of attempting to murder a woman he was in a relationship with told the Police Commissioner that “I killed my wife, I shot her on the face.”
The man is Peter Tulaga, a prominent farmer who is accused of attempting to murder Frysna Rimoni on 15th January 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted murder, one count of grievous bodily harm, one count of being armed with a dangerous weapon and being in a possession of an unregistered firearm.
In Court on Friday, Police Commissioner Fuiavailiili Egon Keil testified during the ongoing attempted murder trial in relation to a phone call he received Tulaga at approximately 7:57pm on the day of the incident.
Fuiava said he did not recognise the phone number.
“It was a male voice on the other line,” Fuiavailiili told the Court. “The voice appeared very erratic, frantic, like something's wrong.
“The individual said his name is Peter and said the last name but it didn’t register right away. He did mention we met before, ‘I’m the taro guy’ and it kind of dawn on me and I’m making the connection this is the individual I met a couple of times through work and I matched up the name and the voice.
“Then he said right away that ‘I killed my wife, I shot her on the face’, something to that effect.”
Fuiavailiili said what he was told caused him great concern.
Lead prosecutor, Magele Leone Su’a, asked the Commissioner if he remembered the exact words from Tulaga.
In response, he said that the defendant told him in Samoan, “I killed my wife, I shot her in the head and mouth."
Fuiavailiili said it was clear to him that the situation was serious. He said it was unusual for someone to call a Police Commissioner and say something as such.
He then questioned the call if it was a joke because if it was it was not funny.
“Then he said ‘no it’s not a joke,” he added. “So to me at that moment I thought he had just shot her and she’s lying there on the ground and how does he really know that she is dead?
“In my mind what he portrayed to me is that she’s dead, but in my line of work you don’t really know for sure. It led me to believe that it just happened right then and he picked up the phone and called me.”
Once he was certain it was not a joke, Fuiavailiili said he told Tulaga to hang up and call 911 so that the emergency team can respond and render aid for the woman.
“I kept insisting to call 911, talking to me is okay but I’m thinking of the welfare of the victim. I asked him where is the victim, then he responded that his family took the victim to the hospital.
“I also asked him is the gun yours and is it registered to you, he said yes.”
The Commissioner recalled that Tulaga had also told him he has already been to the Tafa’igata Prison.
He then told Tulaga to go to the Police station and he will contact the Head of Criminal Investigation, Superintendent Hebert Ati, to see him at the station.
“Obviously he was under a lot of stress and confusion,” he said.
The Commissioner said the defendant revealed to him the reason behind the incident.
“He mentioned he got into an argument with his wife about an affair that she had,” he told the Court. “She had an affair with an aunt of hers, of the victim. I then told him to go the Police station as soon as possible and Superintendent Ati will attend to him.”
Prosecutor Magele questioned the Commissioner if he recalled what Tulaga’s last words were in relation to how the incident occurred.
“He did mention at the end of the conversation that he was trying to prevent her from committing suicide,” said Fuiavailiili.
“As he was attempting to take the firearm away it went off. So in the beginning (Tulaga said) I killed her, in the middle somewhere he was preventing her from attempting suicide.”
Asked about his response about what was being relayed to him over the phone, the Commissioner repeated that his main concern was the safety of the woman involved.
During cross examination, Tulaga’s lawyer, Tauiliili Harry Schuster asked the Commissioner if it's correct to say that the defendant had told him he was involved in the shooting accident with his girlfriend.
The Commissioner maintained it was clear to him what Tulaga had told him that he killed her.
“Like I said in the beginning when I first got the phone call it was very clear he said that I killed her, I shot her then at the end or at the middle he says that he was trying to take the gun away from her, stopping her from committing suicide,” Commissioner Fuiava told the Court.
“It was clear to me from the beginning then the story started to change at the end.
“I don’t know why. You can say it in English and in Samoan but it’s clear to me what he said. I wrote that down there for his sake I did not leave that out, I put it in there for him to make sure that the things he told me are in writing.”
The hearing continues.